Friday, August 31, 2012

Invisible Stalker

Ah, the sshai.  (As a Mystaran American, I believe in respecting outsiders’ own names for themselves.  While we’re at it, big ups to all you haoou out there!)

Perhaps Planescape covered this conundrum—very likely it did—but core D&D never really explained how all those summoned creatures felt about being summoned willy-nilly—and Pathfinder has only gestured at it.  (Did The Order of the Stick cover it?  I know it covered the reverse.) 

The exception is the invisible stalker race.  In almost every edition of the world’s oldest role-playing game, they’ve been pissed.  And the ones in Pathfinder are only slightly more open-mined about it…and only while they’re young.

This is all background for most players—19 times out of 20, when they encounter an invisible stalker it will be as part of a trap or assassination attempt.  But if you're looking for a xenophobic encounter on the Plane of Air, or have a player that questions the ethics of the party summoner, the material is there…

A series of grisly murders rocks Amphilar, the City of Temples.  In actuality, there are two murderers—a cleric cursed to turn into a penanggalen during the new moon, and an invisible stalker summoned by her wizard rival to stain her reputation even more.

A library on a tiny scrap of land floating in the Plane of Air features books that appear to float in the air and scrolls that write themselves.  The library is staffed by invisible stalker cryptomancers studying true names and words of power throughout the multiverse.  The very nature of their studies makes them particularly prone to being summoned, however, and they can barely contain their hostility when interrupted by flesh-and-blood mortals in their sanctum.

The fact that an entire race is chained to the summoning whims of insignificant mortals is clearly the result of some ancient, dire compact—in other words, the work of an archdevil or deity.  Who that was is lost to history…which in itself is significant, as most powers would have gloated by now.  But adventurers planning a sortie into the Hells would do well to find out.  If they could promise a strike against the original contract-holder, they would find an army of aerial soldiers rallying to their banner.

Pathfinder Bestiary 181

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